Design Associate Chancie Gall, worked closely on designing the Trillium House with principal architect Ed Becker, of Mountain Architecture-Design Group. A grand opening is from 2 to 5 p.m. today.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Design Associate Chancie Gall, worked closely on designing the Trillium House with principal architect Ed Becker, of Mountain Architecture-Design Group. A grand opening is from 2 to 5 p.m. today.

Trillium House, aided by foundation, opens doors to public today

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To learn more about the Yampa Valley Community Foundation or to make a donation, visit www.yvcf.org.

If you go

What: Trillium House grand opening

When: 2 to 5 p.m. today

Where: Yampa River Botanic Park

Call: Deb Babcock at 846-9349 for more information

— Thirty years ago, a group of concerned residents created the Yampa Valley Foundation and rallied around the sole task of saving the financially struggling Alpine College in Steamboat Springs.

That task was successfully finished, but the spirit of their work carries on.

"That's why we have Colorado Mountain College," said Betsey Jay, executive director of what now is known as the Yampa Valley Community Foundation. "That got it going, and that was the chief cause."

But rather than fading away successfully, the foundation reorganized in 1996, added the word "community" to its title and adopted a broader mission. The organization now benefits a variety of causes throughout Routt and Moffat counties, primarily in the areas of arts and culture, education, environmental work, health and human services, and recreation. It also manages about 40 donor-advised funds and has about $7 million in assets, board President Donna Howell said. During the past 11 years, the foundation has granted about $7.5 million to worthy nonprofit groups and community initiatives, according to Jay. That amount doesn't include the 2009 grant round, which has yet to occur.

"Our real mission is to build a healthy and vital community through the power of philanthropy, which we've been at for three decades," Jay said.

Put another way, Howell said the foundation "connects people who care with causes that matter in the community."

"It's a wonderful organization that continues to make a significant contribution to the Yampa Valley," Howell said. "We're really looking forward to continuing to grow and continuing to provide support to the Yampa Valley."

Despite its long and impressive history, Jay said many people don't know what the foundation is and what it has done. But one doesn't have to look far to see its impact. Throughout the years, the foundation has partnered with nonprofit groups and residents on a number of campaigns, including those that helped provide LIFT-UP of Routt County's facility, a revolving land-acquisition fund for Habitat for Humanity, a new turf field for the Steamboat Springs High School, playgrounds at local elementary schools and a new pavilion for the Strings Music Festival.

Today, the Yampa River Botanic Park will host a grand opening for its new Trillium House, which also was made possible through a partnership with the Yampa Valley Community Foundation. The open house, which is from 2 to 5 p.m., is open to the public, botanic park board member Deb Babcock said.

"This is just a celebration to show the community the beautiful building we have that's available to the public," said Babcock, who said Trillium House can be booked for events such as parties, meetings and receptions. "The park is absolutely spectacular right now. There are flowers up everywhere. It will be a really nice afternoon for people to come out."

City Council President Loui Antonucci will make remarks at about 3 p.m., and the Botanic Park board will gift the building to the city, which owns the park. The board still is looking to raise about $150,000 to achieve its goal of fully reimbursing the park's endowment for the $500,000 facility. Donations can be sent to the Yampa Valley Community Foundation.

On June 28, the foundation will hold an invite-only, 30-year anniversary celebration, also at the Botanic Park. In July, the foundation will launch yet another campaign in tandem with Routt County United Way, dubbed the Community Cares Fund. The goal, Jay said, is to raise emergency funds for people in need of basic things such as food and shelter because of the economy. Funds will be matched up to $30,000.

"I have absolutely no doubt given the philanthropic nature of this community that we will be around for a long time," foundation board member Paula Cooper Black said. "We're excited to see what the next 30 years will bring."

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